Ranawa Pillar Inscription of Dappula IV

Ranawa pillar inscription
The Ranawa Pillar Inscription (Sinhala: රණව ටැම් ලිපිය) is a stone pillar inscription discovered from Ranawa village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka. Presently, the pillar is located in the middle of the Madatugama-Andiyagala road in front of the Ranawa Devurada Ranrada Viharaya premises, a Buddhist temple site situated in close proximity to the Jathika Namal Uyana.

The inscription has been engraved on all eight sides of an octagonal stone pillar. The pillar is about 5.5 feet tall and each side of it has a width ranging between 6-6.5 inches (Ranawella, 2004). The writing has been executed between parallel horizontal lines and as a whole, it contains 209 lines of writing with about 800 letters (Ranawella, 2004). In the lengthwise, this inscription is only second to the Badulla Pillar Inscription of King Udaya IV [(946-954 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004].

The pillar contains a Sinhala inscription written in the Sinhala scripts of the first half of the 10th century (Ranawella, 2004). It has been dated in the twelfth regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan who has been identified by scholars as King Dappula IV [(923-935 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004]. The inscription has been erected to record about a decree of granting certain immunities in respect of twelve Payalas of lands in a village name Rana (modern Ranava village), attached to a religious establishment named Demetvala Pirivena situated in Palanbima, which was attached to the Tisaram Rad-mahavehera of the Mahamevna Park (Ranawella, 2004). According to the inscription, certain activities such as cutting down the trees (such as Palmyra-palms and Mi) and arresting those who may come into this village after having committed murder somewhere outside have been prevented within the area designated by the inscription (Ranawella, 2004). 
Some identify this inscription as a record that mentions a kind of sanctuary that existed in the 10th century A.D. As it is located very close to the Jathika Namal Uyana, some believe that this sanctuary may have had a connection with it in the past.

The interpretations for the Ranava pillar inscription by G. S. Ranawella (2004) are given below,

  • Ranawa pillar inscription
    Reign          : Dappula IV (923-935 A.D.)
    Period        : 10th century A.D.
    Script         : Medieval Sinhala
    Language  : Medieval Sinhala

    Transcript: Side A: (1)Arogya (2)siddhi Kiri (3)muhundne- (4)n uda kala (5)somi nima- ....>>
    Translation: Let there be good health! on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month....>>
1) Ranawella, G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.98-103.

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This page was last updated on 8 January 2023

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